Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

carving blocks

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • carving blocks

    Hi all... I\'m starting to harvest my mature trees ( basswood for now ) in my woods.. I\'ve sawed them into the biggest sizes possible to stay away from the heart.. I think the biggest size was 8x9 \".. lots of sizes..my biggest basswood trees are still standing.. they were cut down in winter here..some were sawed winter of 2014,,they are air drying now..i haven\'t checked moisture content... I hear that some carvers don\'t like kiln dried... I don\'t know.. I also have other species of mature trees here..red oak ..ash aspen..i\'m looking for advice on sizes needed... and whether to kiln dry?... I have been a cabinet maker for almost 30 yrs..any suggestions ?

  • #2
    Re: carving blocks

    Wow, it sounds like you have a gold mine in basswood. I would suggest you contact some of the carvers that do roughouts, they need biggers pieces. I personally work from 2 1\\2\" up to 4\" since that is the range of most of the patterns that I work with.
    Are you Minn, or Wisconsin area? That seems to be where the best basswood comes from.

    Hope you find an outlet, Tom
    If I took the time to fix all my mistakes, I wouldn,t have time to make new ones.

    www.spokanecarvers.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: carving blocks

      Do you want to retail or wholesale? If you want to solicit retail orders, you have some stiff competition already in place, and I imagine that you would have to have better pricing and be willing to send out free samples to boot to lure carvers away from trusted suppliers. There are some suppliers that will cut any size blocks you want at no extra charge. Sizes will vary all over the ballpark, depending on the size and type of carving each person does...I suggest you check out the competition online for an idea. I don\'t know that I can tell the difference between kiln and air dried, I just know if a supplier has consistently good, carvable wood, how it gets that way is not a concern. Basswood has to be from colder climes to be good carving wood.
      Arthur

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: carving blocks

        1. By all accounts, carvers claim that northern basswood is better for carving that wood from much further south. I\'ll suppose that\'s much longer fiber length and more growth rings per inch.
        2. All the instructions that I\'ve ever seen for saw logs are attempts to maximize the yield from each log. I don\'t believe for a minute that good carving wood is cut that way.
        a) mainstem wood has to be sawed parallel to the growth rings. Taper will make a lot of waste.
        b) branches always have reaction wood, a different wood cell wall composition and chemistry. In broadleaf trees, the reaction wood forms on the top side of a branch, called tension wood. Dramatically different texture and hardness for carving.
        3. Air-dried wood, outdoors and under cover, should relax as it settles down to a moisture content of maybe 12-14%.
        4. I guess that you can use a kiln to cook the wood down to any MC that you want. I wonder what that cooking process does to the wood chemistry.
        = = =
        There\'s a wood store in the city where I can buy yellow cedar carving blocks in all sorts of sizes like 12\" x 16\" x 72\". And I know it sells. They have a wood loft out back. The pieces have waxed ends and mostly wrapped tight with packing film. Don\'t often see a piece with a crack.
        = = =
        I hope that you\'re up for some experiments. Your puzzles will have solutions.
        Brian T

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: carving blocks

          I have no experience with air dried vs. kiln dried basswood. I can tell you that oak or walnut that is air dried is much, much harder compared to same type of wood that was dried in a kiln.

          Sounds like you have hit the motherlode with basswood! Good luck!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: carving blocks

            I think that the carving texture of the wood depends on the tree species, too. Local Alder is like cheese to carve fresh. But it\'s bone when it dries. OTOH, western red cedar sapwood hardens a little as it dries but the colored heart wood doesn\'t seem to change for decades.
            Brian T

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: carving blocks

              Okay Robson I\'ve gotta find out something here. My first and only attempt at a relief carving was a green man this past summer for my cousin. She wanted something to put outside on her new garden shed so I said I\'d do something for her rather than her go buy something. I purchased a piece of what passes for red cedar in my area because cedar is supposed to be a great wood for standing up outdoors and I proceeded to have at it. About 95 percent of my carving gets done with a bench knife and believe me when I tell you that that experience was just about enough to make me take up crocheting as a hobby. I had more chips and splits come off that carving than you can shake a stick at. After the first two booboos I was approaching each cut with as much thought and consideration as I could muster. And the growth rings were very hard while the other was nice and soft. I don\'t know if what you have there is different from what I can get but you sure seem to like that cedar. From my perspective, I won\'t carve anything in it again unless I absolutely have to. Enlighten me if you could please sir. Did I get a dried out chunk or maybe something other than red cedar? Should I have dampened the wood before carving it? I\'ve gotta get this cleared up cause it\'s killing me not knowing the answer. I loved how it looked when I was finished, nice colour, nice grain but holy cow what a pain!

              Tinwood

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: carving blocks

                To the best of my understanding, Eastern Red Cedar is actually a species of Juniperus, not Thuja. In any case, it seems to me to take time to \"learn the wood,\" what you can and can\'t do and details are something that I can\'t do in Western Red Cedar! Rather explosive \"pop-outs\" can happen. What I have learned is that I\'ve got to keep turning the carvings around and around to cut in the \"right\" direction. OOOPS! Wrong way, gotta go the other way. . . .thoughts like that.

                The carving texture of WRC does tighten up a little as it dries but no where near the differences as you might find in, say, Alder.

                When you go wood shopping, take a 6\" ruler with you. Aside from straight grain and hopefully knot free, you want wood with 15-40 growth rings per inch. Lest that 15, less than even 12/inch, the wood in each growth ring is really soft and punky with really hard lines that indicate the end of each year\'s growth. More than 40/inch gets quite boney but I can manage.
                So you\'re looking at cedar fence posts and 5/4 cedar deck boards. I\'d rather walk out empty-handed than buy wood that I\'d have to fight with. I saw a stack of nearly perfect western red cedar fence boards: Maybe 60\" long x 1\" x 6\" wide. 6 rings/inch. Walk on.

                You and both know that it\'s nearly impossible to slice a ripe tomato with a dull knife. So it is with cedar. Carving sharp edges and I can feel by the effort that the edge is starting to go away in 30-40 minutes. Honing makes a profound difference to me.

                I\'m rambling. If you got this far, I hope some of makes sense.
                Buy more \"cedar\". Learn the wood.
                Brian T

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: carving blocks

                  Thanks RV I\'ve learned something today. Always nice to broaden your knowledge base. I\'ve been a gluten for punishment sometimes but I think I\'ll stick with my basswood diet. Much less stress on my old ticker and momma bear does not like it when I get stressed, at least that\'s what she keeps reminding me. You described exactly what I was experiencing with the \"pop outs\", but I was thinking more along the line of \"blow outs\" at the time. Carving is supposed to be something to idyll the time away not grit yer teeth and gettin\' on with it. Glad you took the time to respond, much appreciated.

                  Tinwood

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: carving blocks

                    Most welcome. Took some years to learn the wood. Nobody here to ask.
                    I carve what I see in the wood. Even with good ideas and the best of intentions, some concepts never happen. So there are piles of wood both indoors and out to look at. Add to that, I throw away about 1/2 my carving starts, they just die.
                    Brian T

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: carving blocks

                      RV, I\'ll post some shots of what I was using and maybe you can tell from those what it is. From what you describe, the growth rings look to be out of range for anything decent. Check the Carving Woods and Materials section.

                      Tinwood

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X